Around the Watershed: News and Events

Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop Advances Flood Mitigation

Posted on: April 12th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
A workshop participant observes an engineered flood vent at the Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop held on March 26 and 27, 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.

A work­shop par­tic­i­pant observes an engi­neered flood vent at the Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop held on March 26 and 27, 2019. Photo by Tim Koch.

 

Poten­tially thou­sands of struc­tures across the NYC West of Hud­son Water­shed are located within mapped FEMA flood­plains. Many are located in down­town ham­let areas and are vital to the local econ­omy. More intense flood events and ris­ing flood insur­ance rates are threat­en­ing these struc­tures and the com­mu­ni­ties that rely on them for tax base, habi­ta­tion, eco­nomic activ­ity, and sense of place.

Prop­erty own­ers in flood zones are advised to reduce their flood risks and take action. A range of risk reduc­tion mea­sures are being tested and imple­mented across the coun­try. The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram brought speak­ers with national exper­tise to the region on March 26 and 27 to deliver a work­shop for local offi­cials to learn more about ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing of struc­tures. The work­shop was held at the Emer­son Inn in Mount Trem­per and attended by nearly 50 build­ing depart­ment and other offi­cials from Ulster, Greene, Sul­li­van, and Delaware counties.

The work­shop fea­tured pre­sen­ters from Ducky John­son Home Ele­va­tions out of Hara­han, LA, and con­sul­tants recently retired from the NYS Dept. of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion and the U.S. Army Corps of Engi­neers.

“Every dol­lar spent on mit­i­ga­tion saves six dol­lars in recov­ery costs,” said Rod Scott of Ducky John­son. “Ele­va­tion and dry flood proof­ing are proven flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion tech­niques used to reduce flood risk and flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums,” he said.

In the 2018 hur­ri­cane sea­son alone, U.S. ter­ri­to­ries expe­ri­enced 15 storms and 8 hur­ri­canes respon­si­ble for $50 bil­lion in dam­age. In response to this “new nor­mal” of bil­lions in annual losses due to prop­erty dam­age, Con­gress has man­dated flood insur­ance rate hikes for struc­tures with mort­gages in the FEMA floodplain.

“Ele­vat­ing or flood­proof­ing struc­tures pro­vides a way for com­mu­ni­ties to keep their build­ing stock, and their tax base sta­ble while also decreas­ing flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums for the own­ers and less­en­ing their risk of flood-related dam­age,” said Brent Gotsch, Resource Edu­ca­tor for Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County and orga­nizer of the work­shop. “With increas­ing pre­cip­i­ta­tion pat­terns and more dam­ag­ing flood events, it’s vital that com­mu­ni­ties con­sider using these meth­ods to adapt and become more resilient,” he added.

Elevation and Floodprooging Workshop participants view an elevated home in Mount Tremper, NY. Photo by Brent Gotsch

Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop par­tic­i­pants view an ele­vated home in Mount Trem­per, NY. Photo by Brent Gotsch

 

Dur­ing the work­shop, local code offi­cials learned the dif­fer­ences between wet and dry flood­proof­ing and effec­tive ele­va­tion meth­ods for struc­tures. They learned how these prac­tices change flood insur­ance pre­mi­ums and how sim­ple mea­sures such as filling-in a base­ment can reduce pre­mi­ums by hun­dreds or even thou­sands of dollars.

A bus tour showed par­tic­i­pants local exam­ples of struc­tures retro­fit­ted with ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing mea­sures. At one prop­erty, water­tight shields were installed to pre­vent water from flow­ing into the liv­ing area. Another stop fea­tured a res­i­dence with engi­neered “smart vents” that allow water to safely flow under­neath the structure’s first floor and equal­ize poten­tially dan­ger­ous pres­sures that could buckle the foundation.

At the end of the work­shop, local offi­cials left with increased knowl­edge about how to prop­erly retro­fit flood­prone struc­tures. Going for­ward, county part­ners plan to work with local munic­i­pal­i­ties to iden­tify and access fund­ing for ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing projects and min­i­mize costs to prop­erty owners.

Addi­tional pre­sen­ta­tions by the Catskill Water­shed Cor­po­ra­tion, the NYS Divi­sion of Home­land Secu­rity and Emer­gency Ser­vices, and FEMA informed par­tic­i­pants about poten­tial fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for ele­va­tion and flood­proof­ing projects. Pre­sen­ters walked through the appli­ca­tion process and gave advice on how to cre­ate a strong application.

Fund­ing for the work­shop was pro­vided by the New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

A manager of a local bank branch shows Elevation and Floodproofing Workshop participants how they install the floodproofing barriers. Photo by Tim Koch.

The man­ager of a local bank branch shows Ele­va­tion and Flood­proof­ing Work­shop par­tic­i­pants how they install flood­proof­ing bar­ri­ers. Photo by Tim Koch.

Family Fun and Fish Day Returns May 19th!

Posted on: April 8th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Learning to fish at Family Fun and Fish Day

Learn­ing to fish at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day.

 

Fish­ing with the fam­ily is a great way to con­nect with each other and expe­ri­ence the great out­doors! Back by pop­u­lar demand for the 7th year in a row, the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram in coop­er­a­tion with Trout Unlim­ited and the New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) is host­ing “Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day” at Ken­neth Wil­son State Camp­ground at 859 Wit­ten­berg Road, Mount Trem­per, NY on Sun­day, May 19 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

DEC fish­eries staff and vol­un­teers with local Trout Unlim­ited chap­ters will intro­duce youth and oth­ers to the sport of fish­ing and pro­vide edu­ca­tion on fish iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and aquatic ecol­ogy. Other fam­ily friendly activ­i­ties include a bar­beque, arts and crafts, and edu­ca­tional activ­i­ties under the pavil­ion. Please let us know in advance if you have spe­cial needs related to the day’s activities.

All fish­ing sup­plies will be pro­vided, though you are wel­come to bring your own if you have them. No fish­ing license is required.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Brent Gotsch at 845–688-3047 ext. 3, or by email at bwg37@cornell.edu. DEC charges a $6 fee per car for admis­sion to the camp­ground — all other activ­i­ties at Fam­ily Fun and Fish Day are free.

Reg­is­ter by May 16, 2019 in order to par­tic­i­pate. Reg­is­ter online now by vis­it­ing the reg­is­tra­tion page.

Help Restore a Stream for Earth Day

Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

Trout Unlim­ited is look­ing for vol­un­teers to help plant trees for Earth Day.

The plant­ing will help to restore a dam­aged sec­tion of Wood­land Val­ley Creek, where a large stream restora­tion project was com­pleted by the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram in 2018. The Catskill Moun­tains Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited (CMTU) is orga­niz­ing the tree plant­ing project along Wood­land Val­ley Road on Sat­ur­day, April 27, the Sat­ur­day after Earth Day.

When: Sat­ur­day, April 27, 2019

Time: 10:00AM – 2:00PM

Where: Meet at the junc­tion of Wilmont Way and Wood­land Val­ley Road in Phoeni­cia, NY, just past Wood­land Val­ley Campground.

Con­tact #: 845–802-3861 (Andrew Higgins)

Please Reg­is­ter Online (free): https://cmtu-treeplant2019.eventbrite.com

We will be plant­ing native trees and shrubs along Wood­land Val­ley Creek, an impor­tant spawn­ing stream for brook, brown, and rain­bow trout. The plant­ing will help sta­bi­lize the stream­bank along the creek to reduce ero­sion, con­trol flood­ing, and pro­vide shade to keep the water cold and clean!

We are look­ing for at least a dozen vol­un­teers to help. You are not required to be a Trout Unlim­ited member.

Jobs include: coor­di­nat­ing vol­un­teers, plant­ing trees, water­ing, reg­is­tra­tion table. Please con­sider tak­ing one day out of the year to help ful­fill the mis­sion of Trout Unlimited.

Please join us and bring a friend. At the end of the plant­ing, CMTU will pro­vide pizza and drinks for all volunteers!

For more infor­ma­tion see the chap­ter web site www.cmtu.org OR con­tact: catskillmountaintu@gmail.com

2019 Stream Explorers Youth Adventure

Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

StreamExplorers_Logo

Reg­is­tra­tion is full! To be added to a wait­ing list, call Linda at (845) 688‑3047. We usu­ally have a few cancellations.

Join us for a fun-filled day of science-based stream activ­i­ties on Sat­ur­day, April 27, 2019 and become a Stream Explorer! This year’s event is designed for kids in grades 3 through 7 who live in the towns of Shan­daken, Wood­stock, Olive and Hur­ley. Inves­ti­gate stream ecosys­tems, explore the dynam­ics of a stream, hike to a majes­tic water­fall, par­tic­i­pate in excit­ing out­door activ­i­ties, learn from stream edu­ca­tors and water sci­en­tists, and become a pro­tec­tor of our water resources!

The one-day Stream Explor­ers Youth Adven­ture runs from 8:30 am through 5:00 pm at the Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Sign-in and reg­is­tra­tion begins at 8:30 am.

Par­ents and guardians are wel­come to attend. Reg­is­ter by April 5 for an early bird dis­count of $10 per per­son. After April 5 the fee is $15 per per­son. Reg­is­tra­tion closes on April 19. Down­load the reg­is­tra­tion brochure for mail­ing or reg­is­ter online at www.tinyurl.com/streamexplorers2019. For help with reg­is­tra­tion, con­tact Linda Gonnella at 845–688-3047 or lg457@cornell.edu.

Lunch and snacks included in reg­is­tra­tion fee. Event activ­i­ties take place out­doors if weather per­mits — be pre­pared for a vari­ety of weather con­di­tions! For more infor­ma­tion on event activ­i­ties, con­tact Matt Savatgy at msavatgy@hvc.rr.com.

For direc­tions to the Ashokan Cen­ter, use this address in your map browser: Ashokan Cen­ter, 477 Beaverkill Road, Olive­bridge, NY 12461.

Stream Project Funding Available

Posted on: March 20th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram announces the avail­abil­ity of fund­ing to imple­ment stream stew­ard­ship projects in the Ashokan Water­shed. Fund­ing is avail­able for stream restora­tion, stream-related infra­struc­ture improve­ment, plan­ning, flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion, research and mon­i­tor­ing, and edu­ca­tion projects. Pri­or­ity will be given to projects rec­om­mended in the AWSMP Action Plan and stream man­age­ment plans for the water­shed. Eli­gi­ble appli­cants include munic­i­pal­i­ties, non-profit orga­ni­za­tions, school dis­tricts, and aca­d­e­mic insti­tu­tions. For-profit firms are eli­gi­ble to apply in the research and mon­i­tor­ing cat­e­gory and for a spe­cial Request for Pro­pos­als to deliver a HEC-RAS Train­ing Work­shop for Cul­verts & Bridges. Awards will be dis­trib­uted on a rolling basis until the fund is depleted. A spe­cial lim­i­ta­tion is that all projects must be com­pleted by August 30, 2019. Approx­i­mately $150,000 is avail­able for award. Appli­ca­tions will be reviewed by the AWSMP Stake­holder Coun­cil on a monthly basis. Awards will be announced on April 26, 2019 for appli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted by April 12, 2019. For more infor­ma­tion and to down­load appli­ca­tion forms, visit the project fund­ing page at http://ashokanstreams.org/projects-funding/.

New Edition of Esopus Creek News

Posted on: March 13th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The lat­est edi­tion of the Eso­pus Creek News is now avail­able! This issue cov­ers the lat­est research on how healthy streams can improve our phys­i­cal and men­tal health, sur­pris­ing results from a recent fish study, how con­stric­tion at road-stream cross­ings is caus­ing prob­lems in streams and what com­mu­ni­ties are doing about it, and field notes. To have a printed Eso­pus Creek News mailed to your door, send a request to info@ashokanstreams.org.

Stream Map Event on Feb. 16!

Posted on: February 11th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Participants at the 2018 Mappy Hour look over a historical aerial map of the watershed.

View­ing his­tor­i­cal maps of the watershed.

Maps are rep­re­sen­ta­tions of our world in two dimen­sions and can be pieces of art and his­tor­i­cal arti­facts. Maps help us under­stand our envi­ron­ment in new ways. Join the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) to cel­e­brate a love of streams and view water­shed maps on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 16 from 1:00–3:00pm at Marty’s Mer­can­tile, 4075 Route 28A in West Shokan, NY. The event is free of charge and reg­is­tra­tion is not required.

An array of mod­ern and his­tor­i­cal maps of streams and other water­shed fea­tures in the Catskill region of Ulster County will be avail­able for view­ing. Activ­i­ties and games are planned for the entire fam­ily. Cof­fee, tea, salad and sand­wiches from Marty’s Mer­can­tile will be avail­able free of charge to event participants.

For addi­tional infor­ma­tion on the event please con­tact Brent Gotsch at bwg37@cornell.edu or 845–688-3047 ext. 3. In case of inclement weather, check www.ashokanstreams.org for infor­ma­tion on event cancellation.

Annual Tree & Shrub Sale

Posted on: February 8th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ulster Co. Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion District’s home office in High­land, NY is announc­ing their annual tree and shrub sale. The order form must be received by Fri­day, March 29, 2019.

Many of the species included in the sale are native to the Ashokan water­shed and make great addi­tions to stream­side plant­i­ngs.  Healthy and diverse stream­side veg­e­ta­tion plays an impor­tant role in sta­bi­liz­ing stream­banks and resist­ing erosion.

Catskill natives worth con­sid­er­ing for your stream­side areas include: elder­berry, but­ton bush and paper birch.

Tree & Shrub Order Form
Tree & Shrub Descriptions

For stream buffer related ques­tions or help select­ing appro­pri­ate veg­e­ta­tion, con­tact Bobby Tay­lor, Ulster Co. SWCD and AWSMP Catskill Streams Buffer Coor­di­na­tor at bobby.taylor@ashokanstreams.org or call (845) 688‑3047 ext. 6.

Register Now — Winter Snowshoe Stream Walk

Posted on: January 17th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch

Catskill Stream in Winter

*This pro­gram is now full. How­ever, if you would like to be added to the wait list please con­tact Linda Gonnella at lg457@cornell.edu or 845–688-3047 ext. 0.

 

Reg­is­ter now for a Win­ter Snow­shoe Stream Walk along Rochester Hol­low trail at the end of Matyas Road near Big Indian, NY from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 2, 2019. If there is not enough snow for snow­shoe­ing, a “No-Snow” date is sched­uled for the fol­low­ing Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 9. If there is still no snow on this date, a reg­u­lar stream walk will be held with­out snow­shoes. Snow­shoes and walk­ing poles will be pro­vided, though, par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged to bring their own gear. Those with lim­ited or no expe­ri­ence snow­shoe­ing are encour­aged to attend. Instruc­tion on how to snow­shoe prop­erly and safely will be given before ven­tur­ing out on the trail.

The walk will be approx­i­mately 2 hours in length along a well-maintained trail on NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (NYSDEC) For­est Pre­serve land. Dur­ing the walk, edu­ca­tors from Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County will share infor­ma­tion about local streams and pro­tect­ing water resources, and we will inves­ti­gate signs of local wildlife. The walk will be 1.5–2 miles in length roundtrip with fre­quent stops to point out inter­est­ing fea­tures of the stream or to dis­cuss envi­ron­men­tal top­ics. The walk will end at a NYSDEC camp­site where par­tic­i­pants can warm up by a camp­fire with hot drinks and snacks.

Meet at the DEC trail­head park­ing lot at the end of Matyas Road by 10:00 am.

The event is free of charge but space is lim­ited. Please reg­is­ter early to hold your spot. Reg­is­ter online at https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/snowshoe-stream-walk_251 or con­tact Linda Gonnella at the AWSMP office at lg457@cornell.edu or 845–688-3047 ext. 0.

Rainbow Trout Study Concludes

Posted on: December 14th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Researchers from the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey (USGS), NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion, and the firm Eco­Logic con­cluded a study look­ing for one poten­tial cause of recent Rain­bow Trout pop­u­la­tion declines in the Ashokan Watershed.

The study was launched when the num­ber of Rain­bow Trout in the upper Eso­pus Creek, a major trib­u­tary drain­ing into the Ashokan Reser­voir, showed a pre­cip­i­tous drop between 2009 and 2013.

One poten­tial cause for the decline was the estab­lish­ment of two inva­sive fish in the reser­voir — the Alewife estab­lished in the 1970s and White Perch in the 2000s. Both species are not native to the Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed and have the poten­tial to change the type and abun­dance of food avail­able to other fish, includ­ing Rain­bow Trout.

Rainbow Trout captured in the upper Esopus Creek by Ed Ostapczuk.

Rain­bow Trout cap­tured in the upper Eso­pus Creek by Ed Ostapczuk.

The researchers did an analy­sis of fish caught in the Ashokan Reser­voir over the past 70 years, look­ing at the rate of Rain­bow Trout growth before and after Alewife and White Perch became established.

Sur­pris­ingly, the growth of Rain­bow Trout appeared to increase over recent decades. The largest increases in both growth and con­di­tion of Rain­bow Trout were observed after the intro­duc­tion of White Perch. This was unex­pected con­sid­er­ing White Perch should be poor prey for Rain­bow Trout and may also com­pete with Rain­bow Trout for food.

The researchers did not con­clude that White Perch in the reser­voir ben­e­fit­ted Rain­bow Trout. Instead, other changes in the water­shed and its ecol­ogy may have affected the growth and con­di­tion of Rain­bow Trout over the decades.

Future research and man­age­ment may focus on iden­ti­fy­ing, pro­tect­ing, and restor­ing areas in which Rain­bow Trout spawn.

In fur­ther good news, annual elec­trofish­ing sur­veys at six sites on the Eso­pus Creek and its trib­u­taries have shown that Rain­bow Trout spawned very suc­cess­fully over the past few years, accord­ing to George.

The AWSMP pro­vided fund­ing for this study through a Stream Man­age­ment Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram (SMIP) grant. A peer-reviewed arti­cle on the study was pub­lished in the Octo­ber 2018 issue of the North Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Fish­eries Man­age­ment. For more infor­ma­tion see https://doi.org/10.1002/nafm.10203.